Problems continue and frustrations grow as Illinoisans try to file for unemployment

Chicago News
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For those who have lost jobs because of coronavirus in Illinois and the pandemic, frustrations continue and hope is all but lost as they attempt to file for unemployment.

Lynn Marino and husband Rich are among them.

“We’ve been trying to call and we’ve exceeded a thousand attempts this week alone,” she said.

The Marinos said they have tried to get a person on the phone at the Illinois Department of Employment Services.

Rich Mariano is a delivery driver. He works two weeks then is furloughed the next.

“We’re still trying to stay afloat here,” Lynn Marino said.

Nationwide nearly 3 million laid-off workers applied for U.S. unemployment benefits last week. Roughly 36 million people have now filed for jobless aid in the two months since the coronavirus first forced millions of businesses to close their doors and shrink their workforces, the Labor Department said Thursday. An additional 842,000 people applied for aid last week through a separate federal program set up for the self-employed and gig workers.

In Illinois, there have been nearly 2 million unemployment claims filed. On Monday about 50,000 people filed for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, or PUA.

The filings caused more problems in the system.

Illinois governor JB Pritzker said there will be 100 more state employees to take calls. He also suggested people continue to try on the website.

But trying to file online has its own issues. People have reported error messages or alerts that said claims need to be refiled.

In the meantime, there’s no money coming in.

“We think it’s probably a simple fix if we can get somebody on the line to help us,” Lynn Marino said.

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